We just tried this super easy Reversing Arrow Illusion, and it is, in fact, super easy. Draw two left-pointing arrows on a piece of paper and then put a clear, empty glass between you and those arrows. When you pour water into the glass, you’ll see something that you might not expect. How exactly did that happen? From Physics Central

No, you aren’t going crazy and you haven’t found yourself with Alice in Wonderland staring at arrows pointing in opposite directions.  In fact, you have just demonstrated a physics concept called refraction, the bending of light.

When the arrow is moved to a particular distance behind the glass, it looks like it reversed itself. When light passes from one material to another, it can bend or refract. In the experiment that you just completed, light traveled from the air, through the glass, through the water, through the back of the glass, and then back through the air, before hitting the arrow. Anytime that light passes from one medium, or material, into another, it refracts.

Just because light bends when it travels through different materials, doesn’t explain why the arrow reverses itself.  To explain this, you must think about the glass of water as if it is a magnifying glass. When light goes through a magnifying glass the light bends toward the center. Where the light all comes together is called the focal point, but beyond the focal point the image appears to reverse because the light rays that were bent pass each other and the light that was on the right side is now on the left and the left on the right, which makes the arrow appear to be reversed.

Related mind-benders: the amazing T-Rex illusiona basic demonstration of optical cloaking, and from ASAPscience, Can you trust your eyes?

via The Awesomer.

You may not have heard of Jonathan Hoefler or Tobias Frere-Jones but you’ve seen their work. Before their recent split, they collectively ran the most successful and well respected type design studio in the world, creating fonts used by everyone from the Wall Street Journal to the President of the United States.

Font Men, gives a peek behind the curtain into the world of Jonathan and Tobias. Tracking the history of their personal trajectories, sharing the forces that brought them together and giving an exclusive look at the successful empire they built together.


The NSA “is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world.” (Washington Post)

Join us in protesting the National Security Agency’s wide-ranging invasion of privacy.

Take action →


The state of California says it will cost $20,000 and take two years to export basic data on child care inspections. The majority of states already make these public reports available online, but California has no plans to do so.

Why it’s hard for parents in California to find out if day care providers are breaking the rules.


How does the space that you’re making music in change the sound of the music? French drummer Julien Audigier, Audio Zero, and Wikidrummers put this video together to demonstrate the “natural echoes and decay patterns” of drums in different environments. No artificial reverb added.

In the archives: more drums and more sounds.

via The Awesomer.

On Paul Graham and Duck Dynasty 


A redneck with a cable show said some very stupid and hateful things about black people and gay people. It’s captured the American imagination for the last week and reignited the red state/blue state divide.

Around the same time, the (arguably) most influential investor in one of the…


Why does the full moon look larger when it’s near the horizon than when it’s high up in the sky? For generations, astronomers, psychologists, brain researchers, and many others have hypothesized about this effect, and yet there still doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer.

In this TED Ed, Andrew Vanden Heuvel explains The Moon Illusion, and the theories behind our perception of our moon’s size in the sky.

Previously on this intriguing topic: The Moon Illusion with ASAP Science.


Take a trip through The Solar System — our home in space in this animation by information designer Philipp Dettmer.

Related watching: designplanets, an animated explainer of DNA and the last five minutes of Extreme Stars.

Thanks, @godoacuna.

My brother’s new album comes out tomorrow on Thirsty Ear Records. It’s been getting great press in the Guardian and NPR, to name just a few.


Electronic licence plates can be invalidated remotely

The Tennessee Government has already brought drivers’ licence registration into the 21st century by using self-service iPads for renewals. Now South Carolina may introduce electronic licence plates that use electronic ink to signal when a car is stolen, suspended or uninsured. READ MORE…

The innovation in government bug is spreading!

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